What Washington's immigrant population looked like in 1900

Written by:
March 26, 2022
Hulton Deutsch // Getty Images

What Washington's immigrant population looked like in 1900

Since the first successful English colony settled in Jamestown in 1607, flows of immigrants have arrived on American shores seeking a new life. From Irish immigrants fleeing famine to Chinese immigrants settling in California during the Gold Rush, more than 86 million people legally immigrated to the United States between 1783 and 2019.

There have been four major waves of immigration to the U.S., beginning with settlers from northern and western Europe seeking land on the frontier from 1820 to 1880. The immigrants counted in the 1900 Census hailed primarily from southern and eastern Europe, drawn by the call of industrialization in America. At the advent of the era of world wars, there was a dearth of immigration, but after 1965, individuals from Asia and Latin America began to move to the U.S. in droves.

Though the national immigrant population today and in 1900 is comparable by percentage, hovering around 14% of the overall U.S. population, the raw population tells a different story. Today, the U.S. is home to 44.7 million immigrants, whereas that number was just shy of 10.5 million at the time of the 1900 Census. Stacker compiled a list of the largest sources of immigrants in Washington in 1900 by transcribing a previously untranscribed dataset from the U.S. Census Bureau. Countries are ranked by total residents who were born in that country.

Immigration to the U.S. was handled at the state level prior to 1890, with each state government designating its own processes and checkpoints. New York originally used Castle Garden (now Castle Clinton) as its immigration processing hub, but within a few decades realized that a massive influx of immigrants necessitated a larger venue. Ellis Island opened on Jan. 1, 1892, to the first of more than 12 million individuals who entered the U.S. through its doors.

Keep reading to find out more about the historical immigrant community in your home state or explore the data on your own on our site, GitHub, or data.world.

You may also like: Best counties to live in Washington

1 / 42
Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#1. Canada

Washington
- Number of residents: 20,784
- Percent of foreign born residents: 18.58%
- Percent of total state population: 4.01%
National
- Number of residents: 1,183,225
- Percent of foreign born residents: 11.31%
- #3 most common country of origin

2 / 42
Lewis W. Hine // Getty Images

#2. Germany

Washington
- Number of residents: 16,086
- Percent of foreign born residents: 14.38%
- Percent of total state population: 3.10%
National
- Number of residents: 2,669,164
- Percent of foreign born residents: 25.52%
- #1 most common country of origin

3 / 42
Minnesota Historical Society // Getty Images

#3. Sweden

Washington
- Number of residents: 12,737
- Percent of foreign born residents: 11.39%
- Percent of total state population: 2.46%
National
- Number of residents: 574,625
- Percent of foreign born residents: 5.49%
- #5 most common country of origin

4 / 42
Bettmann // Getty Images

#4. England

Washington
- Number of residents: 10,481
- Percent of foreign born residents: 9.37%
- Percent of total state population: 2.02%
National
- Number of residents: 843,491
- Percent of foreign born residents: 8.06%
- #4 most common country of origin

5 / 42
Buyenlarge // Getty Images

#5. Norway

Washington
- Number of residents: 9,891
- Percent of foreign born residents: 8.84%
- Percent of total state population: 1.91%
National
- Number of residents: 338,426
- Percent of foreign born residents: 3.24%
- #9 most common country of origin

You may also like: Highest-earning counties in Washington

6 / 42
FPG // Getty Images

#6. Ireland

Washington
- Number of residents: 7,262
- Percent of foreign born residents: 6.49%
- Percent of total state population: 1.40%
National
- Number of residents: 1,619,409
- Percent of foreign born residents: 15.48%
- #2 most common country of origin

7 / 42
Historical // Getty Images

#7. Japan

Washington
- Number of residents: 5,700
- Percent of foreign born residents: 5.10%
- Percent of total state population: 1.10%
National
- Number of residents: 81,590
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.78%
- #21 most common country of origin

8 / 42
Bettmann // Getty Images

#8. Denmark

Washington
- Number of residents: 3,626
- Percent of foreign born residents: 3.24%
- Percent of total state population: 0.70%
National
- Number of residents: 154,616
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.48%
- #13 most common country of origin

9 / 42
Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#9. Scotland

Washington
- Number of residents: 3,623
- Percent of foreign born residents: 3.24%
- Percent of total state population: 0.70%
National
- Number of residents: 234,699
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.24%
- #11 most common country of origin

10 / 42
FPG // Getty Images

#10. China

Washington
- Number of residents: 3,462
- Percent of foreign born residents: 3.09%
- Percent of total state population: 0.67%
National
- Number of residents: 106,659
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.02%
- #16 most common country of origin

You may also like: Counties with the most college graduates in Washington

11 / 42
Keystone-France // Getty Images

#11. Finland

Washington
- Number of residents: 2,732
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.44%
- Percent of total state population: 0.53%
National
- Number of residents: 63,440
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.61%
- #22 most common country of origin

12 / 42
Samuel Hopwood // Getty Images

#12. Russia

Washington
- Number of residents: 2,462
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.20%
- Percent of total state population: 0.48%
National
- Number of residents: 424,372
- Percent of foreign born residents: 4.06%
- #7 most common country of origin

13 / 42
Bettmann // Getty Images

#13. Austria

Washington
- Number of residents: 2,343
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.09%
- Percent of total state population: 0.45%
National
- Number of residents: 276,702
- Percent of foreign born residents: 2.65%
- #10 most common country of origin

14 / 42
Bettmann // Getty Images

#14. Italy

Washington
- Number of residents: 2,124
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.90%
- Percent of total state population: 0.41%
National
- Number of residents: 484,703
- Percent of foreign born residents: 4.63%
- #6 most common country of origin

15 / 42
UniversalImagesGroup // Getty Images

#15. Switzerland

Washington
- Number of residents: 1,825
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.63%
- Percent of total state population: 0.35%
National
- Number of residents: 115,959
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.11%
- #15 most common country of origin

You may also like: Fastest-growing counties in Washington

16 / 42
Bettmann // Getty Images

#16. Wales

Washington
- Number of residents: 1,509
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.35%
- Percent of total state population: 0.29%
National
- Number of residents: 93,744
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.90%
- #20 most common country of origin

17 / 42
Universal History Archive // Getty Images

#17. France

Washington
- Number of residents: 1,065
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.95%
- Percent of total state population: 0.21%
National
- Number of residents: 104,534
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.00%
- #18 most common country of origin

18 / 42
Universal History Archive // Getty Images

#18. Holland

Washington
- Number of residents: 632
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.56%
- Percent of total state population: 0.12%
National
- Number of residents: 105,098
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.00%
- #17 most common country of origin

19 / 42
Minnesota Historical Society // Getty Images

#19. Poland

Washington
- Number of residents: 500
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.45%
- Percent of total state population: 0.10%
National
- Number of residents: 383,595
- Percent of foreign born residents: 3.67%
- #8 most common country of origin

20 / 42
FPG // Getty Images

#20. Bohemia

Washington
- Number of residents: 396
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.35%
- Percent of total state population: 0.08%
National
- Number of residents: 156,999
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.50%
- #12 most common country of origin

You may also like: Counties with the most super commuters in Washington

21 / 42
FPG // Getty Images

#21. Belgium

Washington
- Number of residents: 340
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.30%
- Percent of total state population: 0.07%
National
- Number of residents: 29,848
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.29%
- #24 most common country of origin

22 / 42
Universal History Archive // Getty Images

#22. Australia

Washington
- Number of residents: 262
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.23%
- Percent of total state population: 0.05%
National
- Number of residents: 7,041
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
- #34 most common country of origin

23 / 42
Smith Collection/Gado // Getty Images

#23. Hungary

Washington
- Number of residents: 222
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.20%
- Percent of total state population: 0.04%
National
- Number of residents: 145,815
- Percent of foreign born residents: 1.39%
- #14 most common country of origin

24 / 42
David RUBINGER // Getty Images

#24. Portugal

Washington
- Number of residents: 137
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.12%
- Percent of total state population: 0.03%
National
- Number of residents: 37,144
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.36%
- #23 most common country of origin

25 / 42
Lewis W. Hine // Getty Images

#25. Born at Sea

Washington
- Number of residents: 122
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.11%
- Percent of total state population: 0.02%
National
- Number of residents: 8,310
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
- #32 most common country of origin

You may also like: Counties with the highest COVID-19 death rate in Washington

26 / 42
ullstein bild Dtl. // Getty Images

#26. South America

Washington
- Number of residents: 109
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.10%
- Percent of total state population: 0.02%
National
- Number of residents: 4,814
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.05%
- #35 most common country of origin

27 / 42
ullstein bild Dtl. // Getty Images

#27. Pacific Islands (except Phillipine Islands)

Washington
- Number of residents: 106
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.09%
- Percent of total state population: 0.02%
National
- Number of residents: 2,659
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.03%
- #38 most common country of origin

28 / 42
Bettmann // Getty Images

#28. Central America

Washington
- Number of residents: 87
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
- Percent of total state population: 0.02%
National
- Number of residents: 3,911
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.04%
- #36 most common country of origin

29 / 42
Alexander Alland, Jr. // Getty Images

#29. Mexico

Washington
- Number of residents: 78
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
- Percent of total state population: 0.02%
National
- Number of residents: 103,445
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.99%
- #19 most common country of origin

30 / 42
Bettmann // Getty Images

#30. Turkey

Washington
- Number of residents: 65
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.06%
- Percent of total state population: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 9,949
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.10%
- #30 most common country of origin

You may also like: Counties with the oldest homes in Washington

31 / 42
Interim Archives // Getty Images

#31. Greece

Washington
- Number of residents: 65
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.06%
- Percent of total state population: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 8,655
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.08%
- #31 most common country of origin

32 / 42
Universal History Archive // Getty Images

#32. West Indies (except Cuba and Puerto Rico)

Washington
- Number of residents: 54
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.05%
- Percent of total state population: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 14,468
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.14%
- #26 most common country of origin

33 / 42
ullstein bild // Getty Images

#33. Spain

Washington
- Number of residents: 54
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.05%
- Percent of total state population: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 7,284
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.07%
- #33 most common country of origin

34 / 42
Bettmann // Getty Images

#34. Africa

Washington
- Number of residents: 52
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.05%
- Percent of total state population: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 2,577
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.02%
- #40 most common country of origin

35 / 42
Print Collector // Getty Images

#35. Asia (except China, Japan, and India)

Washington
- Number of residents: 51
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.05%
- Percent of total state population: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 11,928
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.11%
- #27 most common country of origin

You may also like: Counties with the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in Washington

36 / 42
Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#36. India

Washington
- Number of residents: 50
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.04%
- Percent of total state population: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 2,069
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.02%
- #42 most common country of origin

37 / 42
Smith Collection/Gado // Getty Images

#37. Luxemburg

Washington
- Number of residents: 39
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.03%
- Percent of total state population: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 3,049
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.03%
- #37 most common country of origin

38 / 42
Bettmann // Getty Images

#38. Other Countries

Washington
- Number of residents: 33
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.03%
- Percent of total state population: 0.01%
National
- Number of residents: 2,587
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.02%
- #39 most common country of origin

39 / 42
Bettmann // Getty Images

#39. Europe (not otherwise specified)

Washington
- Number of residents: 24
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.02%
- Percent of total state population: 0.00%
National
- Number of residents: 2,272
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.02%
- #41 most common country of origin

40 / 42
Historical // Getty Images

#40. Atlantic Islands

Washington
- Number of residents: 22
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.02%
- Percent of total state population: 0.00%
National
- Number of residents: 10,955
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.10%
- #29 most common country of origin

You may also like: Counties with highest COVID-19 infection rates in Washington

41 / 42
David RUBINGER // Getty Images

#41. Roumania

Washington
- Number of residents: 19
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.02%
- Percent of total state population: 0.00%
National
- Number of residents: 15,043
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.14%
- #25 most common country of origin

42 / 42
Hulton Deutsch // Getty Images

#42. Cuba

Washington
- Number of residents: 13
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.01%
- Percent of total state population: 0.00%
National
- Number of residents: 11,159
- Percent of foreign born residents: 0.11%
- #28 most common country of origin

Trending Now